Juan Martin del Potro ends Roger Federer's unbeaten run to win BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells
Del Potro becomes a Masters 1000 champion nine years after winning his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 20/03/18 4:59pm
Juan Martin del Potro handed world No 1 Roger Federer his first loss of the year with a thrilling 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-2) victory in the BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
The defending champion had chalked up 17 consecutive wins in 2018, a run which included the Swiss winning his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
But it was the 29-year-old from Argentina who extended his win streak to 11 matches to capture his maiden Masters 1000 crown and second ATP title in a row after winning earlier this month at Acapulco.
"I'm still shaking," Del Potro said during the presentation. "It's difficult to describe with words. It's like a dream. After all my problems, after all my surgeries, I couldn't believe I'm here winning a Masters 1000 and beating Roger. It's amazing."
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Del Potro saved three match points and wasted a match point of his own in the second set.
He appeared on the verge of defeat when Federer served for the match at 5-4 and 40-15 in the third. But he stormed back to force another tie-break which he breezed through 7-2 to claim a memorable triumph.
"I don't know [how I did it]. I played a great match and had the chance the win in two sets but I made a mistake with my forehand which I couldn't believe that mistake," Del Potro told Sky Sports after recording his seventh win over Federer in 25 career meetings. "It was tough for me to keep fighting in the third set but I survived when I broke his serve at 5-4, saving match point.
"In the tie-break I said 'it's my time or never' and I played great. This moment is so big for me because I've never won a title like this. I think it's time to celebrate a little bit before thinking about Miami which is one of my favourite tournaments on tour. I will try to play as well as I did here."
Federer had a chance to serve out the match, but he could not add another victory on Sunday.
He said: "I'm so happy to be back in the final here in Indian Wells. I had a great run and a great week on and off the court."
To Del Potro, he added: "Well done, you deserve it, you were the better player in the end. There was not much between us but you deserve it, well done and enjoy the moment."
He talked about what he sacrificed for these moments to be honest, to get back out onto these match courts to play the biggest matches on the biggest stages and my goodness what a match we had today. What a final, it lived up to expectations more than we could have imagined. It kept up on the edge of our seats. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Annabel Croft on sensational Indian Wells final
You can watch more ATP Masters 1000 action from the Miami Open when we return on Sky Sports Arena next Wednesday at 3pm.
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